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Getting Your Astral Ducks in a Row

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I have spent a lot of time talking about how dangerous the astral can be. I’ve tried to drill home the fact that the astral can be fickle, and that it isn’t something to be trifled with lest you accidentally bite off more than you can chew. When it comes to the astral, I’ve always tried to present a realistic view of what you can expect. I try not to make out to be 110% scary, but I also try to ensure that everyone knows what they could be getting into before they start to knock on that proverbial door. I’ve always felt that it’s my responsibility as a traveler to represent the facts as they are, both good and bad, and to let everyone else make their own personal decisions about whether they want to take the risks of trying to get Over There.

Something that I realized this past week is that I never bothered to go into the things that could make your transition into astral work a bit easier. Someone had asked me what reasons one might have for waiting before trying to astral travel, which I interpreted as “what things you might want to have taken care of or accomplished before you try to travel”, and I felt it was a topic that was worth exploring more in-depth. So for this post, I’m going to talk about what you might want to tackle before you try to astral travel.

Why would I need to tackle anything?

The first thing you may be wondering is why you need to do anything before you try to astral travel. Most people don’t seem to talk about prerequisites for astral travel, unless it’s mastering the method of traveling itself. But the truth is, there can be some beneficial aspects to getting your shit together before you try to go traipsing through the Unseen. Just a few of the benefits of having your ducks in a row are: you may sustain less trauma when you get there, it can allow you to be less easily duped into things, it can make navigation easier and it can allow you to protect yourself better. Not to mention that having your ducks in a row can allow you to travel smoother and more readily in general.

While you certainly don’t need to have everything in order before you start to attempt astral travel (and truth be told, most of us aren’t perfect before we start to travel- sometimes the astral just won’t wait), it is certainly worth considering marking off at least a few of these things before you start to regularly attempt going to the Unseen.

Consider your location.

One of the first things I recommend that people consider before trying to break into the astral is their living situation. As it turns out, where you live and what kind of people you live with can greatly influence how successful you may or may not be in astral work. When I was living at my mother’s house, I was always so miserable and stressed that trying to relax long enough to even attempt to travel was pretty much a no-go. On top of my stress levels, I was always worried that someone was going to walk in on me or disturb my session, which made my attempts even less effective.

If you’re wanting to go a lot of astral work, you’re probably going to have to make multiple attempts at regular intervals. For some people this is a weekly event, for others it’s an almost daily event. If you don’t happen to live in a location that has the space, quiet, or predictability for you to practice traveling, you’re probably not going to get very far very quickly. On top of that, if you’re already capable of astral travel, moving into a location where you can’t go through the proper steps or motions in order to gain access to the astral, you’re probably going to see a drop in your abilities. Having the proper space in which to do your work is important, if not vital to your success in being able to travel. And if you’re living in a location where peace and quiet don’t exist, you may be better off waiting until your living situation changes before you try again.

Consider your mental and physical health.

Another thing to keep in mind is your mental and physical health, as both of these can influence your ability to travel as well as your discernment. For those who have mental health issues, I’ve found that bad mental health days often result in lackluster experiences Over There. I often have a hard time connecting to the astral, and that can result in an inability to move well, see well or hear just about anything. I’ve also found that bad mental health often results in less ability to discern what I’m seeing, and I’m more prone to falling into brain vomit than falling into the actual astral. And of course if I’m having a bad mental health day over here, and I fall into trouble Over There, my ability to cope with whatever is happening Over There drops dramatically. However, if I wait for days when I am somewhat mentally stable, I tend to be able to cope a lot better with whatever is going on. If you’ve got mental illness, it’s worth taking a look at how your illness effects your experiences so that you can begin to learn your own patterns and use those for discernment and planning your “travel schedule”. But if you’re just starting out, it may be best to make sure that you’re in a somewhat stable state of mind before you go anywhere. Otherwise you may be making your situation harder than it needs to be.

Physical health was always a big deal for me because I used very physical methods to travel when I first started out. Dancing until you can’t stand definitely takes its toll on your body, and if you happen to be sick (whether chronically or only for a short period of time), you may not be able to travel worth a damn until your body has healed up. This can be trialing if you’ve got chronic illness, and in those situations, I recommend that you experiment with less physically-taxing travel methods to see if you can find something that doesn’t stress your body out too much.

Much like with the living situation, if your mental health is in the garbage, or your body is unable to keep up, you’re likely going to be hitting quite a few walls during your traveling experiences. Making sure that you’re in a decent place mentally and physically before you take on the possibility of traveling can open you up for greater success and less frustration over all.

Be conscientious of your limitations.

Getting into astral work can take a lot of energy and time, and I think it’s important to keep in mind the limitations that you may or may not have before you attempt to make astral travel a regular part of your life. Having limitations isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we’ve all got them. However, starting to do work that you know you can’t maintain long term isn’t something that I can truly recommend. It’s important to remember that if you’re doing the work, on some level you have to accept that what you are experiencing is real. And while the relationships we develop in the astral may be a small part of our larger lives, that may not be the case for those who are living full time in the realms that you visit.

It is my personal and unpopular opinion that it’s not fair or responsible to travel over to the astral, begin to make a life there or develop relationships there, and then stop going all together. Obviously, life can have many twists and turns, and it’s entirely possible that things can happen here that you didn’t foresee. However, if you’re trying to do astral work, but know you’re not going to be able to maintain it in a long term fashion, I urge you to consider if it’s really a good idea. Is it really fair to anyone you befriend Over There to only travel during the summer when you’re not burdened with college? Is it fair to travel when you know you’re only going to be able to work at it for three weeks before your depression takes you out of the picture for 6 months? Is it fair to your family over here if you are already strapped for time, and are trying to fit another time-intensive activity into your waking life? Is it fair to you? In the same way that you wouldn’t want your friend, lover, or parent to disappear for months at a time, your astral companions may not be pleased to have you suddenly stop showing up because life got too difficult for you over here. Being aware of whether you can actually juggle life here and life there is incredibly important before you walk through the door to the Unseen.

Being aware of your limitations is important, not only for you, but for those you interact with- both over here and Over There. It’s not fair to anyone (yourself included) to only half-ass this type of work, and you can’t expect to get very far if you’re not willing or able to put forth a solid, consistent effort with traveling. Being aware of how your living situation, mental health, physical health, and other life requirements will play into your ability to travel is incredibly important. Taking note of what you can and can’t handle long term, and keeping an eye on your potential pitfalls will allow you to have more success when you attempt to travel, and better relationships both here and there.

Limitations are not necessarily a bad thing. They can often lead to interesting new methods of doing things and can drive innovation. However, not taking stock of potential problems is often a recipe for disaster. By taking the time to lay out some groundwork and getting your ducks in a row before you attempt to travel regularly can increase your chances of overall success.

Did you have your astral ducks in a row before you started to travel? If not, do you wish you actually had them in a row before you traveled? Any advice you’d give to people who are looking to make astral travel a part of their practice?

 

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Silent Gods

It’s pretty safe to say that most of us spend our lives unaware of the layer of Unseen that penetrates the world around us. We don’t have access to a lot of the goings on in the Unseen, and so we don’t really notice the spirits or other entities that may be around us at any given time. For all intents and purposes, we’re blind and unaware of our surroundings when it comes to non-physical beings.

But just because we are blind to them doesn’t mean that they are blind to us. So many people have stated that “looking back on things, I can tell that my god/s have been around for years now, and I just didn’t realize it” or something in that same vein. Just because we don’t notice when our gods are hanging around us doesn’t mean that they aren’t hanging around us all the same.

So if the gods are hanging around, why on earth would they be silent to us? This is especially hard to figure out if you’re in a place of pain, frustration or confusion, and could really use some reassurance or assistance in your life. And of course, I’m sure that there have been plenty of times when someone has sat around and tried to reach out to a god who is actively listening to them, and yet they remain silent for years. Why?

One of the most overlooked factors is timing. It’s a pretty common saying that “timing is everything”, and it’s a statement that is pretty accurate. To understand my point, consider your own life and your own growth. Think back ten years ago. What were you like? Were you an awful lot like who you are now, or were you very different? Have you become more mature since then? Have you learned anything new? Have you grown at all?

Odds are, the person you are now is pretty different than who you were ten years ago. It’s par for the course that we all grow and change as we age, and the gods realize this as well. If a deity is wanting you to do work for them, it’s possible that they’re waiting for you to reach a certain level before they step forward and begin to work on you.

For those who realized that their gods had been hanging around them since they were kids, it’s possible that your deity watched you silently through your teenage years because they knew that you wouldn’t be ready until after college. Maybe they felt that pushing you while you lived in your parent’s house would cause unneeded and unhelpful stress and strife between you and your family members. Maybe your teenage years were before the Internet took off, and even if the god did reach out, you wouldn’t know what exactly was going on or even what to do about it. Perhaps it was better to wait until there were more resources available to you. Maybe it took seeing those resources to make the connection to the god in the first place.

Maybe they waited because they knew you’d need to complete a boat load of shadow work before they can enlist you for whatever job or task they had in mind. So they decided to wait until you were in a place to actually work on the shadow work before they stepped forward. It was pretty obvious when Osiris showed up that I was not ready for his lessons or his methods, and he had to step back again until I was able to cope with what he was wanting. To push too soon might have resulted in our relationship not working out, in trauma on my end, or in my not performing the tasks that he wanted me to perform.

I know that looking over the past ten years of being 100% non-Christian, that I couldn’t have done what I am doing right now ten years ago. If Set would have shown up right when I first decided to look into religions that were not Christian, I wouldn’t have been able to perform the tasks that he needed. I might have been able to make some progress on the Pit, but he would have had to have cultivated me for years before I would have been ready to start working on community work. I also think that my failures through Wicca and my experiences with dysfunctional online Pagan groups have helped me to get a better understanding of what a community shouldn’t do. Every failure can have seeds for success, after all.

Even if my astral partner decided to show up when I was in college (which is where I was ten years ago–and he was around, I just couldn’t sense him), I wouldn’t have been prepared to handle what was coming at me. It’s technically better for everyone that I was forced to wait another seven years until my head broke open entirely, and I could begin to do what I am doing now. Looking over my experiences, I could definitely make an argument supporting the idea that these Unseen entities waited because the timing was not ideal. I could also make an argument that their judgement was pretty solid, and that waiting ended up saving us more time and strife in the long run, crappy as waiting can be.

Of course, some of you may be reading this and thinking “well that’s not how it is with me. I could have handled whatever they threw at me! Why can’t they start talking to me now? I don’t want to wait!” And that could very well be the truth, but that doesn’t mean that the deity in question sees it that way. Just like how we often act based off of what we think is best, so too do the gods. The gods often have a larger scope of things, and use that to discern and decide what courses of action to take. Who is right or wrong is a moot point when push comes to shove, because again, we’re all relatively cut off from the Unseen and it’s machinations, and so we’re often bound to whatever the god feels is the best course of action (for better or worse). If they put up a wall so that you can’t talk to them, it’s going to be very difficult to break it down before they are ready, and breaking it down before they’re ready can have it’s own repercussions.

I think the biggest take away when considering the various reasons why communication with a deity may or may not be happening is to remember that it’s not always because of you that things aren’t moving forward. There can always be a wide variety of reasons behind why a deity may or may not choose to step forward and make themselves known. As frustrating as it can be to be stuck waiting on a god to say hello to you, it’s worth keeping in mind that relationships are a two way street, and sometimes it’s really not about us (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing), what we want, or what we think is best. The gods can have their own agendas and motivations behind why they do what they do, and we may never be completely aware of whatever is going on inside of their heads. I have always found that being patient and persistent can be the key to breaking through and being able to communicate with the gods, and that while waiting for said deity to decide that “now its okay to move forward” and “now I am okay with talking to you” can suck, it usually works out in the grand scheme of things. At the very least, I’ve always been comforted to know that it’s not always me being a screw-up that causes a god to be silent. Sometimes it’s other things that are beyond everyone’s control- the gods included.

Have you ever experienced a quiet point with your gods? Did you ever figure out why the deity was silent with you? How did you work around the silence that you experienced?

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2015 in Kemeticism, Rambles

 

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The Astral and PTSD

I am pretty sure by this point, almost everyone has heard about the new movie Jurassic World. I’ve heard almost everyone I know (that is under the age of 55) talk about it in some capacity, and it’s even made its way into our Kemetic Fandom over on Tumblr. It’s so popular that it’s even made it into my workplace. I distinctly remember listening to my coworker talk about this movie last week, and referring to it as nothing more than, “A movie about dinosaurs eating people.”

You’re probably looking at the title of this post and wondering what the hell Jurassic World has to do with the astral or PTSD. And truth be told, that’s kind of the point. On the surface, it’s got absolutely nothing to do with PTSD or the astral. It’s “just a movie about dinosaurs eating people,” after all.

But that is the beauty of PTSD, triggers, and sketchy brain functioning. Sometimes the most tenuous of topics can set you off. Even movies that are about dinosaurs eating people.

Over the years I’ve tried to warn people about the dangers of jumping head first into the astral. I’ve tried to illustrate that the astral fucks with your brain a little bit, and that even those who have the best lives ever Over There can end up with a few mental quirks. And so you should be careful before you sign your life away to the astral bank because you never know what kind of mixed bag you’re going to be handed on arrival. You never know if the astral bank is going to charge you a 5 cent monthly fee or a $5,000 monthly fee, so you better make sure your pockets are deep enough to handle whatever comes your way.

I’ve talked about these “fees” and things like PTSD in abstract terms and hints and concepts, but I’ve never really laid it out in specifics before. I’ve never really sat down and talked to all of you about any one particular instance where my brain short circuited and I was left in a ball on the ground (it has happened a few times).

Today we’re going to talk about an incident more in-depth. If you don’t think you can handle discussion of a dinosaur movie causing a PTSD flare up, then you may want to skip this post. For the sake of those who haven’t seen the movie yet, I will be doing my best to ensure nothing overly specific is mentioned, so that nothing is spoiled. Please proceed beyond this paragraph at your own discretion.

The truth of the matter is, I wasn’t overly interested in seeing this movie. Dinosaurs are really not my jam, and I expected to spend two hours staring off at the wall out of boredom, not staring at the wall because looking at the movie screen was just too painful for me. I can’t even begin to express my own surprise and disgust that I felt towards myself when I realized that my mind was running itself through the ringer, and bringing up all of these images and sounds and feelings that had absolutely nothing to do with dinosaurs, especially given my sentiments about the movie on arrival.

The thing I’ve learned about having weird trigger moments over the years is that there is rarely one single thing that sets them off for me. There are times when I have been set off and I couldn’t tell you what exactly about the situation made my brain make a connection that caused me to be curled up on the floor. There seem to be some people who know exactly what their triggers are, but I don’t really seem to be one of those people (with only a few exceptions). There are times when I can see something and be okay, and then other times it sets me off; and who knows exactly why it happened as it did. All I know is that it caused something to snap inside of my head.

Jurassic World was no exception for me. I can’t tell if it was my connection to a species that had been wiped out, and was then brought back to life simply to be exploited and studied by foreign captors. I can’t tell if it was simply seeing dead or dying things that did it for me. Perhaps it was the volume of dead things that bothered me. Or maybe it was more about sound and ambiance, and maybe they used the right mixture of gun shots that made my brain snap. Maybe it was all of these things. Maybe it was something else entirely.

It can be frustrating not to know what exactly it is that caused my brain to slowly fracture and break into pieces, as I have no clue what to avoid in the future so that I don’t set myself off again. Do I need to start avoiding dinosaurs all together? What is it about this movie’s portrayal of violence that was so different than all of the other action movies I have seen? Do I need to be avoiding this director or soundtrack composer instead? What exactly caused this?

Not knowing what exactly caused this to happen made me feel even worse as I closed my eyes and watched the gunfire through my eyelids, because all I could then hear in the back of my head was my coworker chiding this movie for being nothing more than “dinosaurs eating people.” Nobody else in the theater was having problems. No one else was crying because dinosaurs. (I used dinosaurs because I didn’t really know what was causing this reaction). And all I could think to do is waffle between “This is all I see Over There” (‘this’ referring to violence and death) and “How the hell can you be so stupid to get upset over dinosaurs?!”.

Going through such an episode was a very surreal experience. In a way, my brain felt like a cacophony of thoughts and senses. On one hand, I was caught in the past, inside of memories of standing amongst a sea of dead people. Feeling blood dripping down my hands and the dirt under my finger nails. The drag of dirty hands across sweaty and dirty hair as I tried to calm the person dieing on the ground. I was caught in the smell of death and the unnerving silence that falls after the guns quit shooting. It’s like you’re simultaneously caught in the middle of the past, wallowing in the hell that your brain is putting you through, but at the same time, I could hear the very logical and reasoned parts of myself trying to tell me that this is just a movie, it’s fake, it’s not real. I could hear parts of me trying to calm myself down. And at the same time, I could also hear my very chastising self getting irate over the fact that I was “freaking out over dinosaurs”.

The other thing worth mentioning is that sometimes there were no overwhelming visuals that coincided with my meltdown. Sometimes I would close my eyes and simply see black. But that didn’t stop my body from tensing and tightening up as though I was in the middle of a war zone trying to stay alive. You don’t always need to see something, apparently, to experience it all the same. I think this is particularly worth noting because there are many times when I wake up and don’t consciously remember a single thing I did Over There. But it would seem that even though I am not consciously remembering things, that doesn’t mean my body isn’t still taking notes for me. I’ve brought up the fact that bodies are like libraries and indexes of what we experience throughout our life, and this can include things you don’t remember. Repressed memories and experiences that lay dormant in your brain meats can be brought back to life if the right buttons are pushed. And if I wasn’t punishing myself for getting worked up over dinosaurs, I was punishing myself for getting worked up over memories I can barely even recollect or see.

For those who have never had the pleasure of experiencing something like this, the end result is a complete and utter depletion of your energy. My hands were rather numb. I was shaking and couldn’t find a way to stop. My stomach was so upset that I was on the verge of vomiting (something that rarely happens). I can only imagine what everyone else in the theater thought about the weird chick who “cried over dinosaurs.” And when I was asked about it by the person I had gone to the movie with, the first thing I could bring myself to utter was “You’re going to think I’m incredibly stupid.” (btw, they did not think I was stupid).

The thing is, PTSD doesn’t give a shit about what sets it off. Your brain doesn’t care if it’s dinosaurs, or crabs, or penguins, or eggs. Sometimes it’s a smell or a song. Other times its a facial expression or the way someone’s hair lays that day. It can be literally anything, and it isn’t always consistent. It’s not logical, and that’s the point. When brains break, they lose their ability to be 110% logical. The whole take home message of mental illness is that it is out of your control, and falls outside of the realm of logic.

When you read people warning you about going onto the astral because you never know what will happen to you, we’re warning you because of moments like this. Imagine yourself going to a movie and freaking out to the point that you’re barely able to keep it together until it’s over. Imagine if you’re with friends or family, and can’t explain to them why you’re freaking out, because if they knew that you were caught up in some sort of war zone in another plane of existence, they’d look at you like you needed a padded room and medication. Even if you go by yourself, imagine having to coast past the fact that “yeah, that movie gave me a mental breakdown so I don’t want to talk about it” when someone asks you if you liked the movie. Yeah, you can just brush it off, but it can be challenging to do that when the mere thought of the movie brings all of the memories of your episode back to the forefront of your mind.

The worst part about setting up an account with the astral bank is this: even if you aren’t sure if all of this is real, the astral will prove to be real in very real ways.

Even if I’m just playing around in my head, the breakdown that I had this past weekend was very very real. It can’t be denied. It manifested in such a way that I was physically ill and it left me pretty useless for quite a few hours after it happened.

And what’s worse is that you will spend the entirety of your life being told directly and indirectly that you’re only traveling to garner attention from everyone else. That you’re delusional and making it up, that you need “help” and that you’re just trying to lord this over other people or use it as a power play. You will spend your life wondering if you’ve lost your mind, and plenty of people will gladly jump in to tell you just how not-sane you sound.

And despite that, you will have moments like this that are so real that it’s really hard to believe that you’re making it all up. Of course, you can’t really talk about those moments, because people will really begin to question your sanity because now it’s making you cry in the middle of a movie about fucking dinosaurs.

This is the trade off that Unseen travelers and workers have to deal with. When I tell people to please be careful, this is exactly why. This is what you’re possibly looking at for the rest of your life. You never know what lies on the other side of that door, and once you open it, there is no going back to who you were before. Sometimes you’ll walk through and nothing major happens, and it’s kittens and rainbows and life is great and the astral bank only charges you a .05 fee every month. But you’re also just as likely walking into the middle of hell and everything that you thought you were is going to change into something else completely foreign and the astral bank wants to charge you $5,000 a month, and you have to learn to contend with that.

No one seems to want to associate PTSD with astral, but I’m hear to tell you, you can only see so many people hurt and killed before it takes it’s toll on your mind. We all want to believe that the astral is only “sorta real”, but your brain doesn’t make that distinction even if you consciously try to do so.

For those out there who like to constantly remind everyone that “people who ‘travel’ to the astral are full of themselves and delusional”, I ask that you reconsider your stance, or learn to keep your stance to yourself. Even if the thought of traveling to the Unseen somehow seems too far fetched for you (even though you seemingly think that gods can be real), no one who does this kind of work is dumb enough to not know how crazy it all sounds. You’re not telling us anything we haven’t told ourselves.

For those of you who are considering astral travel as a “thing”, please consider heavily the price that you may have to pay if you are successful. Make sure it’s really worth it to you before you try to open that door.

And for those of you who are in the same boat as me, you have my sympathies and remember to take care of yourself, because I know how challenging this lot can be.

 

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Devoted without Devotion

I have a hard time talking about devotion. The word devotion, much like the word worship, has a lot of baggage tied to it. And if you ask several people how they define devotion, you’ll get all sorts answers back. As it turns out, we all have a lot of different ideas about what it means to be devoted to the gods. And it makes sense why a lot of people would have differing, and sometimes conflicting, ideas about devotion, as the definitions for the word devotion run the gamut:

de·vo·tion dəˈvōSH(ə)n/ noun
  • a feeling of strong love or loyalty: the quality of being devoted
  • the use of time, money, energy, etc., for a particular purpose
  • devotions: prayer, worship, or other religious activities that are done in private rather than in a religious service
  1. profound dedication; consecration.
  2. earnest attachment to a cause, person, etc.
  3. an assignment or appropriation to any purpose, cause, etc.: the devotion of one’s wealth and time to scientific advancement.
  4. Often, devotions. Ecclesiastical. religious observance or worship; a form of prayer or worship for special use.

Some of these definitions are pretty straight forward: you spend a lot of time doing the thing, and that is devotion. Where as others definitely have more emotion involved: you feel strongly about the thing, and that is devotion.

When it comes to most discussions featuring devotion, I feel like the second definition (you feel strongly) tends to be the more prominent definition used, and that the bulk of the discussion has a lot of emotional overtone to it. A lot of people seem to believe that devotion is an act of love, or that perhaps your love pushes you to perform devotional acts. And it makes sense in a way- you don’t have to look very hard to see that many people in the wider Pagan and polytheist community have a lot of love for their gods. It’s pretty easy to find poems and hymns praising the gods; posts about how awesome the gods are, artwork and songs… the stuff is all over the place. And that’s a good thing! The gods are pretty cool, and it’s good that people feel good things about the beings that they are spending so much time focusing on and venerating.

But this post isn’t about having love for your gods. This post is about the exact opposite of that.

This post is about being devoted to beings that you don’t feel much of anything for, and how alienating and weird that kind of relationship can be.

As I’ve said in a few posts now, I don’t feel a whole lot about much of anything anymore, and if I do feel anything it’s usually on the sad/upset/negative side of things. That is to say on any give day, I’m usually either neutral or depressed. Happy, excited and positive don’t really seem to happen for me, and when they do it’s very fleeting. It took me a while to realize that this is how I’ve been for most of my life, and it likely is a byproduct of my depression.

As it turns out, this largely applies to my relationships with the gods, too. Unlike so many people who feel these immense emotions when they are around the gods, I am usually left feeling the same way I would if I were talking to anyone else. I don’t sit in front of my shrine and feel awe or humility or… anything. And even when I’m standing Over There talking to one of the NTRW, I still don’t feel anything different than what I would feel if I were talking to anyone else.

I don’t know if this occurs because I don’t view the gods as anything special, or if it’s my lack of feelings that has led me to not consider the gods as anything special. It’s really a case of the chicken and the egg-either could beget the other, and I couldn’t tell which came first, if either came first.

Not feeling anything for the gods leads to a very alienating experience in the community. It probably doesn’t seem that way on the surface, but over time I have noticed that it has become harder and harder for me to ignore the differences between my relationships and the relationships that other Kemetics seem to have with the NTRW. Of course, we all know that comparing ourselves to others is almost always a recipe for disaster, but I think its inevitable that each of us will at least compare notes from time to time with other co-religionists through discussion and interaction with one another. And it’s become very glaring to me that so many others can discuss and feel these things, and yet no matter how much I try, I just can’t seem to find the emotions locked within me.

When I first really realized that this is how my relationship actually was, I began to question if I was broken, or if I was doing something wrong. Maybe there were emotions somewhere that my depression was drowning out? But after months of looking, I still couldn’t find them. Even as the gods told me about the emotions that they have for me, I couldn’t find it within me to reciprocate, and I began to feel even worse. As I dug deeper into my own experiences and motivations, I really began to wonder why it was that I continued to work with the gods and focus on this Kemeticism thing if I didn’t really feel anything from it.

And I really think that this is key in a way. A lot of people come to religion in order to feel something. A lot of people left Christianity because they never felt anything for the god, the religious structure, or what have you. In many ways, if we don’t feel something from our actions, we stop repeating or performing the act. Many of us don’t pick religions because of logical decision making, we pick religions because they feel right to us.

The problem with feelings is that they can be misleading sometimes. I remember reading about Nehet’s reflections of tending a deity’s icon every day, and one of her recollections was that you won’t always feel super cool woo stuff every time you go into shrine. There are going to be some days where you are seriously just going through the motions and nothing else. And if you expect every single experience to make you feel something amazing or different or unique, you’ll probably be disappointed.

Being someone who has multiple mental illnesses, I know that I can’t always trust what I feel. I also know that I can’t always trust what I think, either, because sometimes it’s more my mental illness and chemical imbalances talking than myself. Perhaps its due to living this way for so long that I don’t really rely on feelings to motivate me or drive a lot of my actions. If I waited for feelings to give me the signal to get things done, I’d never get anywhere.

By the time I had reached this point, I began to wonder if it was a bad thing that I don’t feel anything for the gods. There are so many days when I feel like the only one who describes the gods as “ehhh” with a side of “wiggly hand movement”, and I couldn’t help but worry that maybe it was a problem on some level. However, neither of the gods I frequent seemed to care. Yeah, they get a little disappointed when they start talking about their feelings in regards to myself, and the best I can do is shrug in response, but outside of that, it’s never gotten in the way of the work they’ve asked me to do.

The only time it’s ever been a problem is when I’m talking with other humans about relationships with the gods, and particularly when we’re talking about devotion. Because it seems that so many people believe that action that isn’t coupled with emotion is somehow not as effective or desired.

But the truth of the matter is, you can be devoted to your gods and not have a bunch of love backing your actions. You can be extremely loyal to the gods and the religion you practice without having love flood your heart. You can be dedicated to the pantheon that you serve without having the warm fuzzies.

You can be devoted without feeling devotion. And more importantly, you can be effective as a devotee without feeling devotion. Our religion is supposed to be more about doing (orthopraxy) and less about feeling (orthodoxy), and yet it doesn’t seem to translate into how we view relationships with the gods. Even though most of the dialogue you see regarding deity-devotee relationships involves some element of emotion such as love, not every relationship needs that to be the focus in order to be successful.

Just like with my last post about pushing back against general narratives, I’m going to push against the narrative again and state that I am a devotee that doesn’t necessarily feel their devotion. My lack of feeling doesn’t make my actions any less sincere or any less effective. Who I am is enough for the gods- weird emotional ticks included. And if it’s enough for them, then it should be enough for me. And hopefully it is enough for everybody else, too.

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2015 in Kemeticism, Rambles

 

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Breaking the Narrative

One of the best and worst things about being a creator is having the privilege of seeing how your creations grow after their birth. When I take the time to craft a post, I never know exactly how my new “child” will grow after I hit the publish button. Will this post take off and be reblogged a ton of times? Will it be a dud? Will it make anyone angry? It’s always a mystery until after it’s too late to do anything about it. Because of this, each post is a sort of social experiment in a way. You put something out there like a piece of modern art, and you get to watch what everyone does with it, because it’s out of your hands once it’s out there for the world to see. And many times, I love watching what people do with what I have created.

As it just so happens, one of my creations was recently rediscovered by none other than Krasskova herself and brought back into the light after having been in my archives for nearly 2 years. For any of you who have been around TTR for any length of time, you’ll probably recognize the post “On Being Broken“, which was a series of pieces that I wrote a few years back where I examined, challenged and reflected on the nature of devotee-deity relationships, boundaries, and lines in the sand.

I have a very deep fondness for this series. That’s probably because the posts that comprise this series were the product of a lot of hard work and religious rooting around on my part (read: shadow work). Plus, I felt the topics were very important and rarely discussed in our community, and I was so very happy when I realized that I hadn’t alienated everyone upon hitting the publish button. For all intents and purposes, the social experiment was a success.

It was such a success that this post is actually my most popular post for 2013. That’s saying something, considering it was published in the fall and didn’t have many months to gain traction.

So it should go without saying that I was initially excited to see where people were now going to take my post. The social experiment was not done, and I was interested to see where this next “chapter” of my creation’s existence would lead.

Sometimes it’s not always so fun to see where people take your work. It’s part of the tradeoff for being a creator, though. Sometimes you wish people wouldn’t touch your work. Sometimes people use your work to springboard them into places you don’t want your work to go (such as racism, yaaaay).

Shortly after Krasskova’s initial post, I found a couple of different Heathens showing up in my comments section, as well as a another Heathen blogger responding to both myself and Krasskova. This also happened to coincide with a lot of discussions on other venues about the nature of gods as well as discussions about trust and faith and the gods. And it was at this point that I began to notice a trend forming.

That trend is that our community has an acceptable narrative when it comes to devotees and gods. And if you don’t happen to fit into that narrative, your voice is ignored or dampened- if not erased entirely.

When I say narrative, what I mean is that there is an acceptable storyline or way of going about things. If you happen to fall outside of that acceptable format, you are usually shunned or ignored. You’ve probably heard most of the popular or acceptable narratives from the pagan community when it comes to devotee-deity relationships:

  1. Gods are always loving to us. They always know what is best and what we need, even if it makes no sense to us. So when the gods push us, we should do as they say because they always Know Best.
  2. Gods would never be cruel or mean to us without reason. Everything they ever do is with our best interest in mind. So even if they do something that seems mean, it’s really just for your own good, so you should follow along because they always act with your best interest in mind.
  3. Gods always know what you need in order to become a “better person”. So you should do whatever your god tells you to do, because they know what you need even more than you do.

Does that sound familiar? It should, as these the most common narratives and “unspoken truths” that seems to exist in the wider Pagan community. In a way, I might argue that our community was built on this sort of mindset, as almost every single generic paganism/polytheism book has reinforced this sort of mentality and mindset. It’s this very mindset that necessitated the need for my original post in the first place. And what is so bitterly ironic about everyone jumping in on my post (and this topic in general) over the past month is that this narrative was perpetuated and played out right in front of my own eyes. The people that were responding to my musings were, in a way, missing what I was trying to say and perpetuating what I was trying to put a halt to in the first place.

Indirectly, my social experiment had revealed something very telling out about our larger community. And by looking at the trend that was forming, the answer to the very prominent question that I had posed in my original post became very evident to me.

For those who don’t remember, the biggest question I left in my original post is “Why don’t we talk about this? Why haven’t we addressed this in any capacity?”. And I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out why: it falls outside of the acceptable narrative.

If you go through the posts that each person wrote (no I am not linking to them. If you wish to see them, you can go through the pingbacks on the original post. I have personal reasons for going this route) or any of the recent posts on Tumblr that talk about this stuff, you’ll notice a few common themes. One is that gods have a Divine Will that shouldn’t be questioned or challenged. Just because it “doesn’t make sense to us” doesn’t mean it’s not right. The god shouldn’t have to change their ethics for us petty mortals. Instead, you should change to facilitate your god. If you’re refusing to change your ethics, it’s probably because you don’t want to grow or change and your ethics shouldn’t come between you and your devotion. Any disconnect between you and the gods is all on you, probably because you’re human and apparently we suck.

There are also elements of “gods always push us to be better and more genuine”. There doesn’t seem to even be a question of if the gods could ever do wrong or push people in the wrong direction. It’s just assumed that the gods always Know Best. It’s not up to us to figure out if a god is actually doing right by us. I guess because we’re humans, and they’re gods.

Another common theme is the assumption that because I am calling into question my god’s behaviours or show a lack of trust in my gods, that somehow I have not put in enough work, or haven’t worked hard enough to trust his motives. It doesn’t seem to matter which venue this topic comes up in, but there always seems to be this underlying element of shame that seems to be put in my direction for even thinking to question what the hell my god is concocting.

You’ll also notice that any discussion regarding this topic seems to treat all gods the same way. There doesn’t seem to be much attention given to the fact that different pantheons may operate differently (a common example of this is when people apply things such as hubris to pantheons that don’t have such a concept in their religious practice) or that gods can act differently from one another. Its as if someone believes that because their experiences have been XYZ, then everyone’s experiences will be XYZ. There is minimal room for diversity amongst gods, pantheons, or relationships in general.

These ideas mirror what most Pagans and polytheists consider to be the socially acceptable narrative for “turbulent times” with a god. I’ve seen it countless times across countless websites, forums, books and platforms. Our community says that this is the Proper Way to deal with difficult gods (or should I say difficult humans, since apparently it’s all our fault for not getting what the god is trying to do for us), and if you don’t operate “properly”, you are “doing it wrong”.

And I believe this is why people don’t want to talk about things. I, for one, wouldn’t want to talk about how my gods dicked me over if that was the response that I was going to get. I wouldn’t want to open up a very raw wound in my heart and tell people about how my gods did this to me for no perceivable reason and how I felt hurt, alone and betrayed, if I felt that people were going to respond as so many often do: “Well it’s for your own good”. “The gods would never do something like that, you’re mistaken”. “It was a part of their Divine Will and you just don’t understand it yet, but you will”.

When people expect to get treated poorly or chastised for being in a situation they can’t control, they are not going to want to talk about it. No one wants to talk about their pain and then get told that they asked for it, or that their pain isn’t real or legitimate enough for concern. No one wants to get told that the pain they are in is always for their own good- but that’s exactly what this narrative does and reinforces.

This type of narrative is unhealthy. It takes the responsibility off of the gods’ shoulders and places that weight directly on the devotee. It ignores the fact that gods can and do treat people poorly sometimes- and sometimes for no reason at all other than they can. It ignores the fact that not all devotee-deity relationships should actually continue, especially if the god is being abusive. And it creates a narrative that perpetuates victim shaming while simultaneously closeting those who have had bad experiences with the divine because they fear backlash for opening up about what they’ve been through. This narrative basically states that anything that doesn’t work out is always your fault, and if you can’t see the benefit in what you’ve been through, then you’re simply too uneducated to bother talking to.

In many ways, the narrative that we use in Pagan and polytheist circles mirrors the victim shaming narrative that we see in our day to day culture (if you happen to live the US). And perhaps that is the reason that we continue to push this narrative out year after year in our communities: we perpetuate what we know, and we perpetuate what is comfortable for us.

One thing I can say about all of this, though, is that I am very happy and proud to say that the Kemetic community has worked very hard to put an end to this narrative since that original post was made. Something that struck me as both bitterly funny and frustrating about the responses that my post garnered this past month is that I don’t think anyone realized that this post is nearly two years old as of this writing (nor did either responder seemingly read the two follow-up posts that went with the original post where I detailed more about how I handled my own troubled times with my gods and my recommendations for people who are in similar situations). Everyone seemed to think that this was new and uncharted territory, and no one seemed to realize that things have changed in my community since that post was “born” onto the Internet.

After my initial posts about how the gods can be less than perfect and how devotee-deity relationships can degrade, our community began to reconsider what it means to work with the gods. More posts came out from other devotees who have had bad experiences, we were able to discuss how to handle situations like this, and there are even posts about how some devotees love their god, but realize said god can be a twatwaffle to other people.

The Kemetic community realized that the narrative needed to change, and so we changed it. We made it more acceptable to have a bad time with the gods. We made it acceptable to be openly frustrated with the gods. We made it acceptable to black list a deity because they were not treating someone with respect.

We took away the limitations of what gods can and can’t do (or will and won’t do) to devotees. We also took away the limitations of what a devotee can do in a situation where a god is overstepping their bounds.

We made it okay to talk about how relationships can go bad. Or good. Or anything in between.

Now if only the rest of the wider community could catch up.

What do you think about the various narratives that exist within the community? Do you find them helpful or harmful? What other narratives would you like to see changed?

Relevant Posts:

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2015 in Kemeticism, Rambles

 

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Explaining Squishy Polytheism Through Astral Lineage

One of the things I see a lot of people get hung up on when they come into Kemeticism is our weird form of polytheism. Due to how the Egyptians saw their gods, it’s completely normal to get gods that mesh together, separate, conjoin for brief periods of time, merge down and stay completely separate all at the same time. Reading about these godly contortions often leaves people with a bunch of questions. “How can you be one god while simultaneously being two gods?” “Are there three gods now, or only two gods still?” “How come these deities keep merging… are they the same or different now?” “Is that a syncretization or an aspect… how on earth do I tell?” “Does any of this crap even matter? I mean, all of the gods are different and separate… right? Maybe?”

Truthfully, the tricky nature of our polytheism can be really daunting for a lot of people, and I’ve noticed that the most common methods of handling the weirdness of our gods is to either draw hard lines in the sand: well all of the gods are separate beings, always without exceptions. Or to go in the completely opposite direction: well all of the gods are secretly just one god with lots of mood swings, faces, and personalities. And in some cases, the devotee will simply curl up in a ball and rock themselves while they try to ignore the squishiness of our gods’ methods.

Everything about syncretization and aspecting (as well as the squishiness in general) used to confuse me greatly when I first got into Kemeticism. I’ve seen it explained many ways over the years- the each deity is two sides of one coin, or that it’s like cooking where you mix up ingredients to make a meal, or through the use of color (the sky being an ‘aspect’ or kind of blue, where as purple is a syncretization of red and blue) etc.

Generally speaking we define aspecting as when a god takes on the role of another deity for a brief period of time. An example I like to use for this is Wpwt-Re. Wpwt and Re are their own separate entities, but when Wpwt needs to be a little bit shinier, or a little bit more “Re-like”, he’ll take on some of his attributes to complete a job, and then go back to being just Wpwt when he’s done.

It’s kinda like he takes Re’s hat and says “I need to use this, I’ll bring it back when I’m done”. And while the hat is on his head, he becomes a little bit more like Re than he normally would be.

On the other hand, syncretization is when two deities come together to form one deity, while still remaining separate deities. To use the color example above, red and blue can still exist while purple also exists. However, deities are not crayons (or coins or taffy), and so sometimes the comparison doesn’t always make sense to everyone that reads it.

And generally speaking, none of the commonly used examples above really stuck with me or helped to clarify anything. It was only when I got into the astral and learned about how non-physical bodies work that it began to make any sense to me.

Astral Bodies: Big, Flexible, and Inception-ready

One of the first things that I think needs to be understood about astral bodies is that they really aren’t anything like ours in a lot of ways. As I’ve stated in the past, they are vast and they can contain a whole plethora of stuff that you wouldn’t expect to see. That being said, it’s very easy to stash people inside of you, or even entire galaxies inside of you, if that’s your thing. Scale and size don’t mean anything Over There, and it’s possible to being as large or as tiny as you might ever need to be, if you know what you’re doing. And so it’s entirely possible that you could stash gods inside of you, and no one would know.

Because you’re able to be merged while separate over there, it’s not too terribly difficult to merge down with someone to form one being, while still being separate beings. A lot of us have come to use the Megazord as an example for syncretization and how it works, and it is pretty accurate in a sense. A bunch of entities can come together to form one combined entity while still be separate on the inside (or the outside).

In addition to this, it’s very easy to cleave parts of yourself off of yourself- or in other words, you can basically clone yourself to some capacity. So in many ways, you and your friend can cut off parts of yourselves, and then take those parts and push them together and merge them into a new combined entity while still being separate on the outside, with the result giving you three separate beings (you, your friend, and the being that is you and your friend merged together).

Merging & Cleaving: The Line in the Sand

When it comes to merging and cleaving on the astral, there are a couple of caveats that have to be kept in mind. First off is that it is usually very easy to merge and un-merge with parts of yourself or another at first (provided you are compatible and healthy). When you cleave a part of yourself off, this piece will initially be very much like you. It will think like you, be like you, and do as you say because for all intents and purposes- it is you. However, the longer you keep this portion of yourself separate and acting on it’s own, the more likely it will eventually turn into its own bonified self-aware and autonomous entity. I’m not sure what entirely causes this to happen, but I have seen it happen several times with different, unconnected people.

So let’s say Horus cleaves off a part of himself to go do something Super Important while he is busy at home. If Horus2 ends up staying separate for too long, he’ll become his own person, if you will. And after a point, Horus1 will have a harder time sucking Horus2 back into himself- because he has grown into being his own person. In addition to this, if Horus1 decided to suck Horus2 back into himself relatively early in this process, they would likely merge down without any problem and reform into one being. However, if Horus1 decides to try and suck Horus2 back into himself after he’s become his own being, there will likely be slightly competing mentalities at play, in the same way that multiples have to deal with headmates.

A lot of what can dictate the ability to merge down after a point is going to be dependent upon how close the two entities are to begin with. In many ways, entities that cleave off but stay super close to one another are going to be able to merge down much easier with minimal efforts- because they haven’t drifted apart. This can also go for the ability to feel and sense what the other cleaved piece is doing or feeling. Usually when you’ve first cleaved a part of yourself off, it’s easy to see what that piece is up to, if they’re doing okay, and even what they are thinking because there is still a very clear bond between the two of you. However, if this piece runs off and you don’t keep tabs on it, it will drift further away from you, and can drift so far away that it takes a lot of effort to see where they are or what they are doing. This is largely because of the connection that exists between the pieces will erode unless it’s maintained and fed energy from the people at both ends of the connection. The state of this connection can dictate a lot about how close in nature two entities are, as well as how easy it is for them to merge down later on.

In terms of merging with another being, when you’re merged at first, it can be very easy to tell where you end and the other person begins. However, as you begin to spend more and more time together, you will bleed into one another, and eventually it may be impossible to separate from one another without severe damage being caused. This seems to occur as beings begin to resonate, think, work, and operate on the same levels and frequencies. And after a while, it becomes challenging to figure out where one ends and the other begins.

People who merge down with other entities Over There often know how long they can go before issues start to crop up. The same can go for cleaving parts of yourself off. Thing is- humans probably don’t know about any lines in the sand to begin with, so who knows how human worship has affected how the gods merged, splintered and joined as they did. Maybe in some cases the gods only wanted to merge down for a little bit, but then people kept invoking this syncretized deity, and so it became a permanent feature of the pantheon.

It’s because of these possibilities that I treat all syncretized beings as being their own separate selves from their original Creators. It’s true that there is overlap, but that doesn’t mean they are all effectively the “same”.

Lineage Like an Incestuous Venn-Diagram

This concept also confused me when I first got into Kemeticism. I think I was thinking of it too much like how I view children and parents here in the physical world. You are not your parents, even though their DNA came together to make you. And in many cases, the overlap between a child and their parent can be very minimal on the surface. Not to mention that your parents can’t suck back into you or talk through you the way super-connected people in the astral can.

It took learning about the lineage in my own astral household to really start to understand how bonds can form weird connections, and how merged beings can overlap like a venn-diagram does while still remaining their own person.

You see, my household looks like a bunch of different people living together. However, in a lot of ways, my household is a big ol’ vat of incest, because most of the people that are in my man pile are actually parts and pieces of other older merged menz. Sounds hot, doesn’t it?

To illustrate this, I will talk about 5 of my menz (and myself) and how their lineage converges into an incestuous knot.

First off is me and the man I usually call “K-pop”. He and I, for all intents and purposes, are one being split into two pieces. While I’m not entirely sure how we became one (or how one became two), the simple fact of the matter is we have a lot of overlap, and it’s very easy to merge down, split apart, reach into one another, pull one out of the other, and do all sorts of weird taffy-like things.

I have two other menz (let’s call them Joe and John) that seemed entirely unrelated in any capacity to anyone else, until I found out that they are actually a product of two other menz that took parts of themselves and made new people. In a way, this could make Joe and John children of K-pop and his partner. But that’s not entirely accurate either, as they certainly don’t treat these other two people like parents. When you watch Joe and John, you can definitely see influences from their predecessors and much like tracking traits and habits from parents- you can definitely see where they get certain habits from.

So while my house has 5 people in it, when you track down the origins of how things were cleaved and split apart, everyone is technically a branch or product of two people and two people only. And because of these splits and cleaves, we can all merge into one another, pull out of one another, and do a bunch of non-physical inception-level type things.

And in a way, the NTRW are like this. If all of the NTRW came from a single Creator deity, then they are all connected in some way, shape or form. And they can technically abuse these connections and merge down and split apart to their heart’s content. And in a very abstract way, they are all “one”, in the same way that my astral household is “two”. But due to how everything is structured, they are also separate and their numbers range in the thousands.

Another good example of this is looking at how certain kinds of trees and bushes grow. From the surface, it may look like you’re looking at an entire forest of trees, when in reality, it’s actually only one tree. And of course, that would make you wonder- which is it? One or thousands? And the answer would technically be “both”.

This is why Kemeticism can be described as being polytheistic and henotheistic all at once. Our gods are one and many all at the same time, as are many astral beings. It’s hard for us to grok it because of the limitations of our physical bodies, but on the astral, having various parts, pieces, facets, and cleaves is par for the course. And hopefully, with any luck, this post has helped to clarify some of that. If anyone has questions, or if anything isn’t clear, hit me up in the comments section and I’ll see if I can clarify.

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Worshiping the Whole

One of the great things about Kemeticism is that our gods are kinda squishy. This allows us a lot of wiggle room when it comes to deity interpretation as well as deity worship. Because of the nature of our gods, as well as the religious structures set up in antiquity, we are capable of working with a single NTR, multiple NTRW (whether while separate or merged into one) or all of the NTRW all at once. There are many posts out there about how to work with one or a few gods, but I haven’t seen anything that goes in-depth for honoring all of the gods all at once.

Why honor the NTRW as a whole?

The most well-known instance of people worshiping NTRW as a whole probably comes from Kemetic Orthodoxy. KO recommends that anyone who is new to the temple take a step back from any gods that they are currently venerating, and to consider venerating all of the gods as a whole for a short period of time during the beginners class. This is done to help the devotee open up to the possibility of other NTRW coming forward and forming relationships with the newcomer.

However, there are a lot of other reasons one might choose to worship the NTRW as a whole. The first might be that you may not have a particular deity that you want to venerate. Sometimes people will come into Kemeticism and never hear from the gods. When this happens, they may decide that it’s easier to worship all of the gods at once as opposed to picking a deity out of a hat. Alternatively, someone may want to try and give veneration that benefits all of the gods at once, and worshiping in this fashion would allow for that.

And of course, just like worshiping multiple deities at the same time, you are able to worship specific NTR while also having a space for all of the NTRW as a whole. Just because you choose to create a space for all of NTRW in their entirety doesn’t mean you can’t still venerate specific gods as well.

How is worshiping all of the NTRW at once okay? Isn’t that disrespectful?

You will probably get different answers from different Kemetics in regards to this, but it is my personal opinion that it is not disrespectful to approach the NTRW as a whole. In antiquity, Egypt’s ideas about the gods varied from hard polytheism down to henotheism, which would have all of the gods being facets of a larger god. If it was okay in the temples in antiquity, it should be more than okay to approach the gods in this fashion in the here and now.

As with everything of this nature, if you begin to worship the NTRW as a whole and you start to feel like someone is displeased with it, you may wish to look into the matter and find out if there is a particular reason why the gods don’t want you honoring them in this fashion. But to my knowledge, there hasn’t been anyone who has gotten in trouble for honoring the gods as a whole.

How do we worship all of the NTRW at once?

Luckily for us, it’s not that complicated to set up a shrine space for the gods as a whole. Unlike a lot of other religious traditions, our gods all tend to have a bunch of offerings and ritual structures that they all like, so it makes it easier to perform rites and give offerings that won’t upset any of the gods.

I think the hardest part for people who are attempting to honor all of the NTRW is trying to figure out what to use as a focal point on their shrine. Many of us have icons and statues of the gods that allow us to focus our attention on them and visualize them better. However, NTRW are this kind of nebulous, intangible concept that doesn’t really fit well into a single statue, image, or icon. Luckily, there are a few symbols that represent the NTRW as a whole, as well as symbols that are vague enough that will work for the purposes of an icon or statue.

First is the seated NTR hieroglyph:

NTR_wilkinson

From Wilkinson’s Reading AE Art

The second might be to use the “flag” hieroglyph:

NTR_FlagWhen it comes to the flag symbol, you would usually want to have three flags in a row to represent all of the gods. So while you can have a singular flag for the focal point, I would recommend drawing three flags if possible.

In addition to the signs above, you could also use something basic like an ankh or the ma’at feather. Since the gods are often equated to both of these (and are sustained by ma’at), they should be good enough to use as images in place of all of the NTRW. And of course, if you don’t want to have a focal icon or image, you technically don’t have to.

Just like with any other shrine, you could easily decorate it with whatever you are drawn to. In many ways, the shrines and temples in antiquity often had a lot of the same elements, regardless of who was being housed in the shrine. Things such as libation bowls, offering plates, incense holders, jewelry, flowers, and fine cloth would have all been common things to find on a shrine. Any of these would likely work for any shrine setup you’d be making here and now.

Here is an example of what a NTRW shrine could look like:

NTRW_Shrine

Image reposted with permission. Please click to see the original tumblr post.

 

For offerings, anything that you find on this list is safe for any of the NTRW- including NTRW as a whole. When in doubt, water, bread and beer are almost always safe offerings to give to the gods.

In regards to ritual structure, the basic outline that is listed here is perfectly fine for this type of shrine setup as well. The basic system of approaching the shrine, leaving offerings, stating any words of power, singing songs, playing music, or dancing before reverting the offerings is always a good mixture to use. You can always add other elements to the ritual, if you’re prefer. Adding things such as lighting incense, lighting a lamp or candle, embracing the icon that you are using (ka embrace), etc. will also work well for this shrine setup. Pretty much anything you’d use for a typical shrine setup will work here.

I know that this shrine setup is not very common within out community, but if you do end up setting up a shrine to all of the gods, I’d love to hear how it works out for you!

Related Posts:

 

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Kemeticism

 

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